The City of Memphis, founded in 1819 and incorporated in 1826, is governed by a mayor and a 13-member City Council. Memphis is the largest city in Tennessee and the 25th-largest city in the United States in terms of population, and at 324 square miles is among the largest in the United States in terms of land area.
The mayor is elected to four-year terms with a limit of two terms. The current mayor is Jim Strickland, elected in 2015. The mayor provides leadership and operational guidelines to all divisions within City government and has sole contracting authority for the City. The mayor carries out City policies and appoints board members to various agencies, commissions, and authorities, including the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and the Memphis Area Transit Authority.
City Council members are also elected to four-year terms with a limit of two terms. Seven City Council members are elected from single-member districts, and six Council members are elected, three apiece, from two super districts that each cover half of the city. Council members meet 24 times per year, typically the first and third Tuesdays of each month, at City Hall. These meetings are open to the public. The Council elects a chair and vice chair, organizes into committees, exercises legislative powers, approves budgets and establishes the property tax rate.
The City also has a judicial branch, with judges and the City Court Clerk also elected by citizens to four-year terms.
The City is governed by a mayor-council form of government that was put into place on Jan. 1, 1968, replacing a commission form of government that dated to 1909.
To learn more, visit each entity’s individual page: